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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Digital transformation of EU tourism

The European Commission has implemented several actions to boost the competitiveness of businesses in the European tourism sector, integrate them into global digital value chains, and improve their ability to create more jobs.

Actions to help tourism businesses go digital

Digital tourism network

The Digital tourism network is an informal forum of EU tourism industry and other relevant stakeholders Launched in 2015. It aims to discuss common challenges and opportunities of the EU tourism industry's digital transformation and exchange good practices for boosting the innovation capacity of tourism entrepreneurs, especially SMEs. The network will help shape new actions to support the digital transformation of the industry, increase the uptake of digital technologies by the tourism sector and improve tourism SMEs' integration in the global digital value chain.

In 2016, with the help of the digital tourism network, the Commission conducted a targeted consultation on the challenges and opportunities of digitalisation in tourism.
The consultation received around 3000 responses from tourism businesses, professional associations and federations as well as public authorities at national, regional and local level. It has been summarised and analysed in 2 reports published on the virtual tourism observatory in 2016 and 2018.

The Digital Tourism Network event planned for 2020 was cancelled due to the coronavirus - Covid-19 outbreak. If a new event is planned, it will be communicated at a later stage.

Tourism business portal

The tourism business portal is a one-stop-shop to improve the establishment, management, promotion, and expansion of businesses. It includes plenty of articles, tutorials, online tools, and links to best practices to help entrepreneurs learn about the management of a tourism business in the digital era.

Webinars on digitalisation in tourism

2 series of webinars were produced to provide guidance on the use of digital technologies by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism industry. The webinars focus on practical digital, e-management and online marketing skills that help tourism businesses respond to the evolution of digitalisation in tourism and the recent trends in tourists' use of technology to discover, plan and share their travel experiences.

Digital tourism roadshow - Digitalisation as the driver of growth for tourism businesses

The webinars were followed by a series of local workshops held between December 2018 - March 2019 in 5 EU cities: Athens, Poznan, Sofia, Bucharest and Lisbon. With the help of local experts and entrepreneurs, topics such as access to finance for digitalisation, digital skills of the future and how going digital can help in tapping into new markets were discussed.

Aim of the actions

  • strengthen the skill base of tourism SMEs, whose growth potential is often unexploited due to limited access to life-long learning and awareness of developments in the smart use of technologies
  • support the integration of tourism businesses in the digital value chain by
    • helping with the design of tailored digital solutions for the tourism industry
    • offering a chance to take full advantage of the opportunities of the digital market to increase competitiveness
    • providing access to new business opportunities and new markets
  • boost the ICT-driven innovation potential of tourism SMEs and empower tourism entrepreneurs